Originally pitched as a mid-market sibling to Bar Shu across the way, Ba Shan is, if anything, more atmospheric, with stone floors, ornate lanterns and a ‘shadow room’ decorated with puppets at the back. Chilli heat and ‘bold, shouty flavours’ still pack an authentically fiery punch here, but more mellow, delicate options also abound on the illustrated menu. Start with ‘outrageously rich and garlicky’ pounded aubergine or complex ‘smashed’ cucumber salad, before moving on to ‘unctuous and fragrant’ anise-braised pork or chilli-spiked gong bao chicken. Generous portions are best shared, so ‘come en masse – and bring your adventurous streak’ advises one convert. The wine list features several spice-friendly whites – otherwise drink Tsingtao beer or one of the fruity beverages preferred by young Chinese customers. Good service and a moderate tab all add up to ‘a weird and wonderful meal’.
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